Review: I’m With You [Continuation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series]

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Released: August 29, 2011
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Executive Producer: Rick Rubin

At the end of the successful but long and stressful Stadium Arcadium tour, emotional tensions were running high within the band, resulting in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ plan to take a two-year hiatus from music to catch up on their lost personal lives. Frontman, Anthony Kiedis had a baby to take care of, bassist Flea went back to school, to USC, to study music theory as well as learn to play the piano, drummer Chad Smith played drums for the supergroup, Chickenfoot, as well as his own band, Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats, while guitarist John Frusciante’s recorded a solo album, The Empryean, and also had an unexpected and shocking decision to make. John made the decision in early 2009 to walk away from the band for the second time in pursuit of a solo career.

“There was no drama or anger involved, and the other guys were very understanding. They are supportive of my doing whatever makes me happy and that goes both ways.”
-John Frusciante

At this point, Flea had doubts about moving forward without John, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers found themselves yet again without a guitarist and a huge void to fill. They had to look no further for their new guitarist than within their own touring group. Josh Klinghoffer, before joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was already widely considered the “5th Red Hot Chili Pepper”, as he would accompany the band on their Stadium Arcadium tour and play backing guitar for longtime friend, John Frusciante. Before touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Josh Klinghoffer had previously recorded and also toured with bands such as Gnarls Barkley, PJ Harvey, Beck, The Butthole Surfers, Vincent Gallo and Golden Shoulders. He had also fronted the band, Dot Hacker, and was part of Ataxia with John Frusciante as well as a part of The Bicycle Thief and Warpaint. The band respected Josh’s artistry, talant and experience and immediately offered him a spot to join the band.

1. Monarchy of Roses: A great opening track to the record with an unforgettable chorus and nice instrumentals. The vocals are pitch perfect and the only blemish is the synthesizer in the beginning. This song goes on the list of best Red Hot Chili Pepper songs.
(9/10)

2. Factory of Faith: A strong bassline drives the rap-type track but as opposed to the old Chili Pepper rap, it has a very strong dance feel.
(9/10)

3. Brendan’s Death Song: The first song written for the album, it is dedicated to longtime band friend and autobiographer Brenden Mullen who had died earlier in the year. This track is the only acoustic track on the record and has some psycadelic verses that catapault to the triumphant end.
(7/10)

4. Ethiopia: The excellent instrumentals for this song are very reminiscent of Blood Sugar Sex Magik but unfortunately the verses and vocals are rather dull.
(6/10)

5. Annie Wants a Baby: Another bass-driven track with some John Frusciante-esque guitar lines from Josh. The bridge and chorus are both perfect in this Stadium Arcadium-sounding track.
(8/10)

6. Look Around: A faced paced track with more standout bass work from Flea. The verses are rapped by Anthony with a more refined sound and bridge than previous rapped tracks in the band’s career.
(8/10)

7. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie: The lead single off the album, the pop-sounding track is driven by Flea’s funky bassline and some very eerie distorted guitar riffs from Josh. The cowbell is a new feature in the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound and works nicely.
(8/10)

8. Did I Let You Know: A salsa-type track with heavy drum-lines and perfect vocals and answering crisp guitar lines. The backing vocals aren’t like John Frusciante’s backing vocal work but works very well. The guitar solo from Josh is exquisite; absolutely perfect. The trumpet solo also is a nice new touch.
(8/10)

9. Goodbye Hooray: A heavy instrumental track with progressive vocals. The chorus is anthemic but not the best of the record. The bass solo also works great in the feel of the song.
(7/10)

10. Happiness Loves Company: The piano-based track sounds like a song that should be in a musical. The summer themed song is a nice feel-good song with a catchy chorus but thats about it.
(5/10)

11. Police Station: A tender ballad about a prostitute who Anthony is in love with. The verses are very touching and with some really nice piano lines and a perfect psycadelic solo from Josh.
(9/10)

12. Even You Brutus?: Strong piano lines drive the song and some classic rock-type verses from Anthony. The chorus is simple but catchy.
(8/10)

13. Meet Me at the Corner: This song reminds me of Death of a Martian on Stadium Arcadium with the light but driving giutar line. An underrated track that grows on you and definately deserves listens.
(7/10)

14. Dance, Dance, Dance: A safe way to end the album, this is a Coldplay-sounding track with tender vocals and heavy drum lines. The instrumentals in the middle of the track are bliss and should have lasted longer.
(6/10)

Best:
Monarchy of Roses
The Adventures of Raindance Maggie
Factory of Faith

Worst:
Goodbye Hooray
Happiness Loves Company
Dance, Dance, Dance

Final LP Rating: 8/10
The Red Hot Chili Peppers deserve immense credit for their advancement in their musicality and music-writing. All factors of the band improved during their hiatus. Anthony Kiedis’ vocals improved tremendiously and his writing ability has always been his strength. Flea’s increased role catapaults his basslines and drives the entire album’s sound. Chad Smith, as always, is an exquisite and an extremely underrated drummer. His beats are incredible in this album and his work here is by far his best effort. Josh, the new guitarist had a huge role to fill but instead of trying to emulate John Frusciante, he stayed true to himself and changed the entire band’s sound for the better. In this album you can hear many of the previous Red Hot Chili Pepper albums in the overall sound. This record has many elements of Blood Sugar Sex Magik as well as some similarities to Stadium Arcadium and By the Way, but this album has a more refined sound than the older albums. After 5 years since the band’s last studio release, I’m With You is one of the best albums of the band’s long career and deserves credit. It will take some time for fans to adjust to the newer sound, but the album is too good to simply shun it for the new sound.

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Watch the Throne (Deluxe Edition): Review

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Kanye West & Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne
Released: August 8, 2011
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap/Dubstep/Soul
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Roc Nation, Def Jam Records
Executive Producer: Kanye West & Jay-Z

Coming off a highly successful and critically acclaimed album in 2010, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, expectations for Kanye West were high for his next studio release while Jay-Z, on the other hand, was over two years removed from his last effort, The Blueprint III, and had somewhat fallen off the map. Originally slated as an EP release, Watch the Throne was written and recorded all over the world, mostly in hotel rooms in Australia, Paris, Abu Dhabi, New York City, and Los Angeles. The overall direction of the album was cloudy in the beginning of the sessions, causing many tracks recorded during the early period to be cut from the record. At times, the recording process induced creative feuds between Kanye and Jay-Z, which was the reason for the release date setbacks, but the end product was well worth the wait. The production of the album came from 88-Keys, No I.D., Lex Luger, Mike Dean, The Neptunes, Q-Tip, RZA, Swizz Beatz, Pete Rock, Southside, Jeff Bhasker, Don Jazzy, Hit-Boy, Sham “Sak Pase” Joseph, Anthony Kilhoffer, Ken Lewis, S1 and the album features a slim, but talanted guestlist of Frank Ocean, Beyoncé, Otis Redding, Mr Hudson and Curtis Mayfield as well as some uncredited vocal appearences from Kid Cudi and James Brown, among others. The Throne supergroup concept, consisting of Kanye West & Jay-Z, was concieved in July, 2011 during the making of the album. The pair had done a lot of successful collaborations in the past and an alias for the two artists was fitting. Watch the Throne had plenty of hype around it and despite all of the attention, the album never leaked before release, a feat not easy these days. Singles “H•A•M” and “Otis” debuted on the Billboard charts at #23 and #12 respectively and the third single “Lift Off” is slated for release on August 23, 2011.

1. No Church in the Wild [feat. Frank Ocean]: Arguably one of the best tracks on the album and a great opening to the record, this song features an eerie-sounding flowing and moving bassline which drives the song. Frank Ocean sounds good on the hook and the verses from Kanye and Jay-Z are also arguably the best on the record.
(9/10)

2. Lift Off [feat. Beyoncé]: The song has a lot of Beyoncé where she sounds good on the hook, but for the most part, the production here is average at best, although the closing beat at the end of the track is good. This song has a very 808s & Heartbreak feel but with a more refined sound.
(8/10)

3. Niggas in Paris: Here, an odd xylophone-sounding beat drives the song with some occasional sampling from the Will Farrell movie “Blades of Glory”. This track is one of the tracks on the record with a dubstep drop and the static-sounding drop works nicely.
(6/10)

4. Otis [feat. Otis Redding]: The lead single off the album, the soul-influenced track features a great Otis Redding sample and amazing, standout verses from both artists. However, the sampling of Otis making sounds during the verses takes away from the song.
(8/10)

5. Gotta Have It: A slower track with a a great deep-strung instrumental beat and nice wordplay from Jay and Kanye who trade words from eachother’s verses.
(7/10)

6. New Day: Simply the best production on the album, the track has a very eerie and euphoric sounding beat with voice samples and a twinkling instrumental. The exquisite verses from both artists talk about their unborn sons with standout wordplay from Kanye.
(10/10)

7. That’s My Bitch: With a fast paced afro-beat with bongos and some nice vocal sampling on the hooks, most noteably James Brown, the track has a great vibe. Jay-Z has the better verse on this one but not by much.
(9/10)

8. Welcome to the Jungle: A simple high pitched keyboard line and a simple kick and snare beat sets the stage for the nice verses. This track grows on you after a couple listens, and yes Axl Rose is referenced here by Jay-Z.
(8/10)

9. Who Gon’ Stop Me: With the famous Flux Pavillion dubstep sample, Kanye West and Jay-Z try experimenting with something new for Hip-Hop by blending dubstep and rap. It works somewhat nicely here, although Kanye raps with a synthesizer in the beginning which doesn’t sound good at all, but he raps with a normal voice a little later in the track.
(6/10)

10. Murder to Excellence: The chanting on top of a great instrumental and beat gives a nice triumphant feel for the standout verses from both rappers. The track is a yin-yang type track with the first “Murder” section stating the negative and the last “Excellence” section stating the positive.
(9/10)

11. Made in America [feat. Frank Ocean]: This slower track has a flowing instrumental with very synthetic-sounding beats and another nice hook from Frank Ocean which is the highlight. Kanye’s gets best verse award here, where both rappers talk about their lives and their journey to the top.
(7/10)

12. Why I Love You [feat. Mr Hudson]: Aside from Frank Oceans hook in “No Church in the Wild” this feature with Mr Hudson is one of the better features on the record. With great triumphant instrumentals, a nice beat and verses, this track is very underrated.
(7/10)

Bonus Tracks:
13. Illest Motherfucker Alive: The beginning instrumentals sound like the cantana bar in Star Wars: A New Hope. But another great triumphant beat kicks in for another very underrated track. The verses are slow but articulated well plus Kid Cudi has an uncredited appearence in the outro with the “Slow Motion” hook.
(8/10)

14. H•A•M: This track was the first single off the album, but was eventually changed to a bonus track because of the change in album direction. I still dont think it should have been left of the cut of the album, the very theatrical and triumphant beat and the verses are original and the most “radio-friendly”, but not in a bad way.
(9/10)

15. Primetime: A nice piano instrumental and a simple beat set the stage for more great and standout verses from Jay and Ye.
(8/10)

16. The Joy [feat. Curtis Mayfield]: Originally a part of the G.O.O.D. Fridays series, the track features additional uncredited artists Pete Rock, Charlie Wilson and Kid Cudi. The track is rather slow moving and dull and could have been left off the album.
(5/10)

Best:
New Day
No Church in the Wild
Murder to Excellence

Worst:
The Joy
Niggas in Paris
Who Gon’ Stop Me

Final LP Rating: 8.0/10
Final Deluxe LP Rating: 8.5/10
There is no doubt that this is a classic, well excecuted and breakthrough rap album and the experimental dubstep-influenced tracks are revolutionary and will influence other rap artists in the future. However, for the incredible hype the album had prior to release, the record didn’t live up to the “Greatest Rap Album of All Time” expectations, for which the album was labeled even before release. Granted, Kanye West and Jay-Z (aka: The Throne) are two of the top rap artists today but it was naive of fans to expect the greatest rap album of all time from the two great MCs. This album will take a little time to grow on you as it’s very original and unorthodox, but Kanye West & Jay-Z sound great together as they have many times previously, featuring eachother in tracks on both artist’s various albums. The most recent and also one of the most noteable collaborations between the two rap superstars prior to the Watch the Throne sessions, was Kanye West’s “Monster” on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which just gave listeners only a little taste of what was to come from Ye and Jay.

Coming Up: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time

Upcoming is the list for 100 greatest music artists of all time. Stay tuned.

Flashback: Stadium Arcadium Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series Part. III [Final Installment of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series]

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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium
Released: May 5, 2006
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Executive Producer: Rick Rubin

Stadium Arcadium was the first double album in the Red Hot Chili Peppers long and successful career. The reasoning for the double album release was the band became too emotionally attached to their recorded songs, not wanting to cut many tracks from the album. The original plan for the record, going into the writing process, was a smaller 12-14 song record. But as the writing process progressed, the band came out of the sessions with 38 songs. The subsequent plan at that point was to release three staggered albums six months apart, but that idea was quickly put aside, as the band realized that new material would be created by the time the second and third albums would be released. So the Red Hot Chili Peppers opted to go with the double album idea and reluctantly cut ten songs from the album and released them as b-sides. The 10 tracks later released as b-sides are often referred to as “Venus”, following the trend of the names of the two discs in the album, “Jupiter” and “Mars”. The Stadium Arcadium tour was the band’s biggest tour yet, stretching out over a two-year period of non-stop shows. By the end of the tour, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were mentally and physically exhausted and decided to take a two-year hiatus from music. During the hiatus, the band recieved shocking news that guitarist John Frusciante was leaving the band for the second time, making Stadium Arcadium the last album to that point to feature John. Stadium Arcadium drew rave reviews from critics, saying the album effectively reverted back to the band’s funk style after the last album, By the Way, followed more of a melodic style. The album was a commercial success as well, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, making Stadium Arcadium the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first album to debut at #1. The lead single, “Dani California”, spent 14 weeks at the #1 slot and other singles “Snow ((Hey Oh))” and “Tell Me Baby” also reached #1.

Disc 1: Jupiter
1. Dani California: Dani California soon after release, immediately became a Red Hot Chili Peppers classic and deservidly, the lead single of the album. A standout on the record, Dani California is one of the onlys songs on the record with a pop feel. John put together a great riff and bridge, plus, the replay value here is high. The chorus has a really catchy feel and really completes the song. Lyrically kiedis tells a story about a girl named dani who he has feelings for.
(9/10)

2. Snow ((Hey Oh)): The difficult guitar line here is effortlessly played by John, and Anthony’s soothing vocals complete the ballad-type song.
(8/10)

3. Charlie: The chorus of the song is a definate plus and a highlight of the recording. Although the same cant be said for the verses and really simple guitar line which takes from the average song.
(5/10)

4. Stadium Arcadium: This track is one of the few tracks on the record which has a really dreamy feel. Anthonys vocals shine the fullest in this ballad one of his personal highlights on the album and John’s guitar line is a real gem.
(8/10)

5. Hump de Bump: The overall weak track has groovey guitar line reminscent of their early funk years, combining their early funk work with their new ballad style of writing. The only highlight of the song is the percussion solo in the middle of the track.
(5/10)

6. Shes Only 18: The lyrics alone would make a great poem and a standout on the track. The chorus works really well as well as the fucky bassline and wangy guitar.
(6/10)

7. Slow Cheetah: One of the darker ballads in the record. Guitar riffs are a beauty and chorus provides a good climax for the song which instrumentally builds with every verse. A very undderrated track which deserves a listen from beginning to end.
(9/10)

8. Torture Me: A very fast paced head bumping bass heavy track. Trumpet in track is a nice plus in this song and the regression towards the end of the track is a nice leadup to the solo from John. (6/10)

9. Strip My Mind: Lyrics and instrumentals are rather weak in this track despite the fresh synthisized guitar line and overall great chorus.
(5/10)

10. Especially in Michigan: This song is a highlight of the record. The guitar and bass lines are a perfect match for the excellent vocals from Anthony. The solo from guest guitarist on the track, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta, is arguably the best solo on the entire record.
(9/10)

11. Warlocks: Any song that has “tikitickity tic tak toe” to rhyme with “go” isn’t a strong overall lyrical song. Although, the vocals and chorus in the track are a suprise and this fell-good funky track will eventually grow on you.
(6/10)

12. C’mon Girl: A very solid track and a very similar feel to “especially in michigan”. Chorus is a bit weak but Kiedis’ verses along with fleas running basslines are a definate moment.
(7/10)

13. Wet Sand: The most underrated song on the album. Beautiful guitar riffs are euphoric. Chorus at the end is worth waiting for after some nice ballad style verses from Anthony. Guitar solo at the end is simple, but simply perfect and timeless.
(9/10)

14. Hey: Another laidback ballad not as good as “Wet Sand” but a solid end to a solid 1st disc of Stadium Arcadium.
(7/10)

Disc 2: Mars
1. Descecration Smile: The opening acousic guitar line is perfect for this great opening song for the second disc. Very dreamy feel although it can get very monotonous after 4 verses of the same instumentals and vocals.
(8/10)

2. Tell Me Baby: The second single from the album. A very catchy and pop-feel track with vocals that emulate the already simple guitar line which takes away from the track.
(7/10)

3. Hard to Concentrate: Funky bassline from Flea here and eerie guitar lines in the backround. The vocals here are nice but the track doesn’t really go anywhere.
(6/10)

4. 21st Century: Flea’s strong bass line shines throughout this song and Kiedis talks about the change in times of the 21st century but there isn’t much to this track.
(5/10)

5. She Looks To Me: A very slow moving song but the guitar solos are a nice listen. The changes in key provide a well carried out progression to a awaited climax that unfortunatelynever comes.
(6/10)

6. Readymade: A synced bass and guitar lines do plus a syncopated drum make up the song. The vocals to the bridge and the sub par solo at best are the highlights to this song.
(4/10)

7. If: This soft track reminds me of “Porcelain” in Californication, although not as lyrically strong.
(4/10)

8. Make You Feel Better: There is nothing bad about this track but something about it sounds weak but it is a solid feel good track. The chorus is a little cheezy but works.
(5/10)

9. Animal Bar: A very dreamy and sophisticated track and a must listen in the album. The verses are well sung by Anthony and accompanied by well recorded guitar riffs and womps.
(8/10)

10. So Much I: A fast paced track with many synthesized guitar riffs and bass lines. The vocals in this track aren’t Anthony’s best, but aren’t horrible.
(4/10)

11. Storm in a Teacup: This song sounds like a blend of the Peppers and the Beastie Boys. The real highlight of the song is the bridge which is a really nice blend of instrumentals along with a great verse.
(8/10)

12. We Believe: A quiet and soft ballad with a synthesized running guitar line. The group vocals in the chorus makes the song somewhat unlikeable.
(5/10)

13. Turn It Again: A nice track to listen to with fleas running bass line and anthonys nice vocals. The chorus switches the focus to the solid guitar riff accompanied by aks vocals.
(7/10)

14. Death of a Martian: One of my favorite tracks on the album. A perfect blend of soothing, sometimes synthesized, guitar lines and simple bass lines. Chorus is a little weak but solid. The only issue with this song is the weak 1 minute rap of a poetic verse from Kiedis at the end, the rest of the song is a gem and a great end to the album.
(8/10)

Best:
Jupiter:
Dani California
Especially in Michigan
Snow ((Hey Oh))

Mars:
Death of a Martian
Storm in Your Teacup
Animal Bar

Worst:
Jupiter:
Hump de Bump
Strip My Mind
Warlocks

Mars:
Readymade
So Much I
If

Final Double LP Rating: 7.5/10
The album was a great overall achievement for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ sound, as the band blended the album in a very artistic way with pop-sounding singles like “Dani California” and “Snow ((Hey Oh))”, heartfelt ballads like “Wet Sand” and “Slow Cheetah” and funky tracks like “She’s Only 18” and “Torture Me”. Stadium Arcadium was a statement record for the band and proved that the Red Hot Chili Peppers could still make funky songs reminiscent of the old days, great rock headbangers, or soft ballads. Additionally to the commercial and critical success, the album also won the band 5 grammies (including Best Rock Album), the most in the band’s career.

Flashback: By the Way Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series Part. III

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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By the Way
Released: July 9, 2002
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Executive Producer: Rick Rubin

By the Way was a very experimental album in terms of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ sound and it has a different and very identifyable sound more than any other Chili Peppers album. The writing and recording process was very different for the group than the previous Californication sessions, as John Frusciante was in great spirits and was brimming with confidence. The original plan for the album was to follow the footsteps of Californication and mix melodic songs with funk songs, but Frusciante felt that the funk vibe had been done and it was time to explore the melodic vibe of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. However, Flea disagreed and felt the true vibe of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was in funk. This led to a power struggle between Flea and John which escalated when John wrote most of the bass lines for Flea who then felt his influence in the band was fading. Despite the differences between the two, the album was recorded and released only to recieve rave reviews and commercial success. By the Way excells as arguably the best Red Hot Chili Peppers album due to its euphoric, complex and melodic sound and its classic ballads.

1. By the Way: The title track and lead single from the album, this song became known as one of the best chili pepper songs ever written. The surging bass lines and accompanying guitar riffs are complimented with anthonys quality lyrics about becoming clean from drugs.
(10/10)

2. Universally Speaking: Another single from the album, Universally Speaking is considered a Pepper classic, finding its way onto the Greatest Hits album. With its quality guitar riffs and catchy chorus this is a cant miss.
(8/10)

3. This is the Place: Flea’s prominant and dominating bass lines are the driving force for this track and Anthony’s lyrics speak about the life of a junkie and the escape from life by getting high. Solid track.
(7/10)

4. Dosed: One of my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers songs of all time. The soothing guitar riffs from Frusciantes guitar are a perfect remedy for a torn heart. Anthonys lyrics in this song are some of the best of his career talking about pure love and addiction to drugs “climb onto your seahorse” meaning finding your soulmate because seahorses have the one mate in their entire lives. This song is a relatively unknown classic but hearing this song will enlighten you.
(9/10)

5. Dont Forget Me: If there were weak points on this record this would be one. Very monotonous guitar lines and the vocals are just not fitting. However the song features a refreshing solo sounding a bit like flowing water with nice effects.
(4/10)

6. The Zepher Song: This song is a definate highlight of the album. This isnt a typical sounding track from the Chili Peppers, using drum effects at the beginning, but the song eventually flows into a beautiful chorus and into beautiful guitar riffs from John.
(9/10)

7. Can’t Stop: A Chili Peppers timeless classic, Can’t Stop is one of the most famous peppers songs. Using a catchy guitar riff to propell the song, this track is the culmination of solid vocals and lyrics from Anthony but quality instrumentals from the remainder of the band.
(9/10)

8. I Could Die For You: This song grew on me after a while. At first for me it was a song to skip but the meaningful lyrics such as “turn this into motion into beauty that i can abuse” sparked my interest and the rest fell into place. The guitar line is an anchor and the the bridge to the chorus is appealing.
(7/10)

9. Midnight: One of the weaker tracks but still John’s riffs are the standout on this one. Anthonys vocals arent bad but this song is simply not a appealing one overall.
(4/10)

10. Throw Away Your Television: One of the only tracks to feature Flea’s intense running basslines. John’s timely appealing guitar riffs, solo and Chad Smith’s flawless drumline are amazing. Overall this song wont get much playing time but it is an underrated track that is worth a listen.
(7/10)

11. Cabron: A feel good summer type track using an acoustic guitar. One of the weaker overall songs on the album. Anthony talks about love but the vocals don’t work well here.
(3/10)

12. Tear: A slow song that speaks about looking back on life and emotions. One of the more personal and spiritual moments on the record. Written mostly on the piano, John’s guitar solo is perfect for this song and his riffs are excellent. Flea’s trumpet solo is a pleasant surprise in the track.
(7/10)

13. On Mercury: A fast paced reggae-type track which isnt a standount on the album but not a bad track either. Solid listen.
(6/10)

14. Minor Thing: I love the instrumentals on this track. John’s solo is a simple but a delicate beauty as well as great guitar lines featured throughout the song. Anthony’s vocals are average here but the instrumentals speak the loudest in this song.
(7/10)

15. Worm Tape: This track starts off slow with a wailing guitar and moving bassline, but the chorus makes up for the boredom with an acoustic guitar and Anthony’s nice vocals.
(3/10)

16. Venice Queen: For a very long time this was my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers track, an absolutely beautiful ballad where Anthony speaks about a friend Gloria, the driving force behind his battle for sobriety, who died from cancer shortly after he bought a house for her on Venice Beach. Instrumentally and vocally this dreamy song simply shines and is a must listen.
(9/10)

Best:
By the Way
Dosed
Venice Queen

Worst:
Dont Forget Me
Worm Tape
Cabron

Final LP Rating: 7.5/10
By the Way is one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ most succesful albums as a cohesive whole, a peak in the bands career as a whole sound and individual growth. Lead singer Anthony Kiedis excelled in his songwriting abilities here and stretched his personal limits while John Frusciante talored his signature sound to perfection and wrote most of the instrumentals for each track. Flea and Chad Smith’s bass lines are in sync to perfection and drive the undertones of the album.

Flashback: Californication Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series Part. III

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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication
Released: June 8, 1999
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Executive Producer: Rick Rubin

Following an unsuccessful tour due to eventual poor sales from the One Hot Minute album and numerous injuries to singer Anthony Kiedis, the band regrouped after the tour to begin writing another album. Once the writing process began, the band realized that Dave Navarro and Anthony Kiedis were quietly battling severe drug addictions. Although Anthony was slowly correcting his problem, Dave Navarro wasn’t, and to his dismay, was subsequently fired from the band in 1998, after he fell over an amp while high when the band was jamming. Yet again, the future did not look bright for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This period was almost reminiscent of the time following original guitarist Hillel Slovak’s death in 1988, and John Frusciante’s departure in 1992, except now the band wasn’t getting along, had no guitarist and coming off a very poor album. Knowing something drastic had to happen for the band to start recording again, Flea, unbeknownst to the other bandmembers, visited former guitarist John Frusciante in 1998 during the band’s hiatus from music. John, at the time was heavily using drugs and wasn’t looking good, however, Flea convinced him to go to rehab and, to the consent of the rest of his bandmates, eventually offered John a spot to return to the band; an offer John emotionally agreed to. John Frusciante’s return to the Red Hot Chili Peppers was a spark of life the band needed. He and Anthony rekindled their strong friendship and began writing what would come to be classic songs. The Californication album brought about yet another new style to the band’s sound, focusing more on euphoric and melodic guitar riffs rather than the heavier style of playing in the previous Mother’s Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik sessions. The Californication album also brought the band even more success then ever before and reestablished the Red Hot Chili Peppers into the mainstream.

1. Around the World: Great opening track to the record reminiscent of the early funk days. Flea’s running bassline is a beauty in this funky track and John’s solo is a gem.
(9/10)

2. Parallell Universe: Great guitar riffs and solo from Frusciante along with a fast moving, quality bassline. Anthony’s vocals are also a plus. Great track.
(9/10)

3. Scar Tissue: Argueably one of the greatest Red Hot Chili Peppers songs ever written. The guitar line is absoolutely perfect along with quality vocals from Anthony. Lyrically this song shines as Kiedis talks about his lonliness and addiction. Frusciante’s final guitar solo is euphoric and a beauty. Simply the best song on the record.
(10/10)

4. Otherside: Vocally and lyrically, Anthony shines in this track, talking about his life and if he should continue on his destructive path of hard drugs. The guitar riffs are pure quality and compliment the vocals very well and the solo is one of the best on the record.
(9/10)

5. Get On Top: A funky track also reminiscent of their older funk days. The instrumentals, most noteably the slap bassline, shine here. The vocals from Anthony are good here as well.
(5/10)

6. Californication: The title track of the record, Californication almost never made the final cut of the record because of the difficulty the band had with coming up with a quality instrumental. Both the instrumentals and vocals shine in this track and lyrically Anthony speaks about society and the deterioration of the “Hollywood Dream”.
(10/10)

7. Easily: Instrumentals shine in this bass-heavy track along with nice vocals, most noteably the hooks, from Anthony. An overall good track.
(6/10)

8. Porcelain: Very depressing and dark song. Lyrics are very meaningful but i think they would have worked better in a different song. Very slow moving and instrumentally weak.
(4/10)

9: Emit Remmus: Nice wailing guitar effect with a nice running bassline from Flea. The track isnt very bad but not very high in replay value.
(6/10)

10. I Like Dirt: All facets of this song are pretty weak. Guitar lines arent very appealing and the vocals are very monotonous. Most people would skip this track.
(3/10)

11. The Velvet Glove: There is something about this track that grabs me. Although not a highlight on the album, I think this song is a must listen. Nice guitar riffs and solid vocals. Strong track.
(9/10)

12. Savior: This track will grow on you. It does start off slow but the switchup in the middle is quality. The lyrics talk about Anthony’s father and the backup vocals are a standout from Frusciante and a nice listen.
(7/10)

13: Purple Stain: This song is very average until the refreshingly perfect solo from Frusciante at the end. The rest of the song consists of a groovey guitar line and half rap-half singing from Anthony.
(7/10)

14. Right On Time: The bridge vocals are the only solid aspect of this song. Fast moving guitar and bass lines arent good except for the bridge.
(4/10)

15. Road Trippin’: The only acoustic guitar track on the record, this is a weak track overall but nice vocals make up for it.
(7/10)

Best:
Scar Tissue
Otherside
Californication

Worst:
Get On Top
I Like Dirt
Right On Time

Final LP Rating: 8.0/10
Californication was a very important record in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ career. Not only did they get their lead and most creative guitarist John Frusciante back from his long hiatus as a contributing memeber of the Chili Peppers, but also Californication reestablished the band into the mainstream after some years of hiatus and a weak sub-par album. Not only did The Peppers reestablish themselves as a mainstream band, but they also delivered argueably their best album of their long career with not only heartfelt ballads such as “Scar Tissue” and “Californication” but also rock inspired hits such as “Around the World” and “Parallell Universe”.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series Part. III

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Coming up is Part. III, and the final part of the three-part Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series. Part. III takes you to the 1996-2006 mainstream and comeback era of the band, featuring the classic album, Californication, the first written album with guitarist John Frusciante in 7 years since he quit the band in 1992, the sophistocated and melodic, By The Way, and finally, to conclude the tribute series, the most recent album, Stadium Arcadium, the band’s first double-disc album.